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Beau Brummell : A Regency Dandy's Minimalist Jewelry Style

Have you noticed more men are now sporting jewelry? Thank goodness for us jewelry artisans! It's been a long 200 years since men wore much jewelry. The minimalist approach to male jewelry and understated fashion was started by the Regency dandy, Beau Brummell (1778–1840).

This Englishman's pared down style was the total opposite of the metrosexuals of the late 18th century - you know, the powdered wigs, high heels, glittery coats in bright peacock colours.

Brummell introduced and established for future generations, the modern man's suit with the fitted jackets and the wearing of trousers instead of knee breeches. He also advocated only three colours for men - white, tan, and blue-black. For him the only jewelry would be his bright buttons - occasionally a watch chain and fob and a simple signet ring.

Beau Brummell was born George Bryan Brummel, the son of a well-to-do middle class family. He inherited a considerable sum of money when his father died. He bought an army commission and joined the 10th Light Dragoons. Whilst there he became fast friends with the paunchy and hopelessly unfashionable Prince George, the future King George IV by giving him a few tips on how to dress.

Brummel quickly became the man about town. Known for his biting wit and his impeccable taste in clothes, Brummel also became the man to emulate. He said, “I have no talents other than to dress; my genius is in the wearing of clothes.”

Hoards of people actually visited his dressing room to watch him get ready for the day including the tedious tying of his elaborate cravats! Brummel spent more than two hours at his toilette, brushing his teeth, shaving, bathing - he even brushed his body all over - he never needed any perfumes because he was so clean. Thanks to him, soap and water use became fashionable.

He moved with the wealthy set and eventually, the overspending, addictive gambling and rich food took their toll on his wallet and his figure. The final blow came when he quarreled with the Prince. The climax was when the Prince ignored him at a social gathering. Brummell insolently and loudly remarked to Lord Alvanley standing next to the Prince, "Alvanley, who is your fat friend?"

Overnight he become persona non grata - unwelcome in society. His fortune gone, he fled to France to escape his creditors. For a man who dressed fastidiously in his youth, he continued to dress carefully if only to make sure he covered up unsightly blemishes from the mercury ointment he painted on his skin to treat his syphilitic rash. At the time, toxic mercury and arsenic medications were the only treatment for syphilis. He became mad from the disease and died in abject poverty in a French mental hospital, a toothless, shuffling wreck. He was only 57.

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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1 comment:

  1. Such a sad demise. Seems history is filled with stories of people who rose in prestige and wealth only to fall to the bottom of the barrel, ending up wallowing in the dregs of a wasted life. Perhaps this is why the saying; "Be nice to those you meet on your way up as you'll met them again on the way down" , came into being.

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